Senator Hutchison Tours Center for BrainHealth
UT Dallas President David Daniel, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Dean Bert Moore and VP of Research Bruce Gnade joined Chief Director Sandra Chapman and the team of BrainHealth researchers to welcome the senator.
During the tour, the center’s Head of Special Services Audette Rackley gave Hutchison an overview of the center’s BrainHealth Physical, a base-line test that measures reasoning, strategic learning, filtering and mental flexibility. During the brief demonstration, the senator impressed the researchers with her performance on a sample exercise.
The senator then learned about the center’s Middle School Brain Years Initiative. Dr. Jacquelyn Gamino explained how critical the middle-school years are in the development of critical thinking and reasoning skills.
Gamino’s team has created the Strategic Memory and Reasoning Training (SMART) program to intervene and improve education during this developmental period. The team is conducting a pilot program at a local middle school and hopes to receive legislative support to create a program for all Texas middle schools.
Dr. John Hart, M.D., the center’s Medical Science Director, talked about his research with veterans who have traumatic brain injuries. He explained that these injuries can lead to hyperarousal, overwhelming the victim and making decisions on and off the battlefield difficult.
As ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veteran Affairs, and chairman of the West Point Board of Visitors, Hutchison was interested to hear about Hart’s research.
“I’m very pleased to hear this,” she said. “This is one of the entities I support with federal dollars because I think this research is so important. I’m glad that UT Dallas and UT Southwestern are collaborating on research that will help our veterans.”
Hutchison has been a U.S. senator for Texas since 1993.